Christ at the Center of Pastoral Ministry

The Difference Jesus Makes in Pastoral Theology, Spiritual Leadership, and Ministry Practices

By Richard Thomas Vann Jr.

Genres: Pastoral Development

ISBN: 978-1-955295-21-5

228 Pages


Pastors and gospel ministers through the centuries have benefited from what the prophets and apostles penned in the Old and New Testaments and what pastoral theologians and pastors have taught and written that has been preserved. Christ at the Center of Pastoral Ministry looks to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and to the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17) for a Christ-centered approach to pastoral theology, spiritual leadership, and ministry practices.

Richard Thomas Vann Jr. is professor of Christian ministry in the Graduate School of Ministry, Dallas Baptist University, and has served on the DBU faculty since 2010. A US Air Force veteran and former Army chaplain, he holds multiple degrees, including a PhD from the University of South Carolina and a DMin from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Marta, have six married children and eighteen grandchildren.


Written with the wisdom of a pastor, the heart of an evangelist, and the intellect of an academician, Dr. Vann has woven together the multifaceted nature of ministry and pointed us toward ministry’s theological end: Christ. Drink from this well filled with wisdom, Scripture, and experience. – Lewis Richerson, Lead Pastor, Woodlawn Baptist Church, Baton Rouge

In this work, Tom Vann provides from his decades of study, practice, and leadership exactly what every person committed to serving as Christian shepherd ought to understand. The fact that he does so by focusing on the ministry and teaching of Jesus is not a surprise. His own spirit testifies that he practices what he preaches and what he has written. – Barry Creamer, President, Criswell College, Dallas

I cannot think of a more fitting person to learn pastoral ministry from than Dr. Vann, because I feel like he taught me everything I know. When one picks up his book, they can do so with an assurance that it is not just words on a page, it is the story of his life. – Billy Stockton, Pastor, Pinecrest Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina

I have personally benefited from Dr. Vann in the seminary classroom. In this book, Dr. Vann invites all of us into the classroom of ministry [taught by] a wise and experienced man of God – Nick Floyd, Senior Pastor of Cross Church Northwest Arkansas, Springdale, Arkansas

Tom Vann has provided a resource that should be in the library of every pastor and should be required reading at every seminary. Not only that, every Christian would be blessed to read this book as well. – Jim Tucker, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Deer Park, Texas

Tom Vann’s classes were some of the most valuable (and intensely practical) of my seminary years. Reading this book let me learn all over again the art of pastoral ministry from a seasoned shepherd. It was a gift to be reminded of how much of my practical ministry was informed by Dr. Vann’s faithfulness and teaching. I think yours will be, as well. – Jared Musgrove, Executive Pastor for Spiritual Formation & Groups, The WELL Community Church, Argyle, Texas

Dr. Vann’s pastoral heart is felt in this work with the kind of insight and perspective that is helpful to every minister called to follow in the steps of Jesus. Read and let your soul be stirred for ministry again! – Phillip Dunn, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Mount Juliet, Tennessee